Germany Should Prepare to Restore Deutsche Mark, AfD Party SaysBy
Nationalist anti-Merkel party presents draft campaign platform
Calls for bringing Bundesbank gold home, deportation program
Germany should prepare to reintroduce the deutsche mark, repatriate its gold reserves and start sending home 200,000 rejected asylum seekers a year, the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany said in a draft campaign platform.
With its support slipping six months before national elections, the party toughened its stance on migration by calling for a deportation program and said Germans -- like Britons -- should be allowed to vote on leaving the European Union if efforts to reform the bloc fail. Germany should bring all of its gold home and leave the euro area because membership in the currency union has led to unacceptable financial risks, according to the manifesto.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government has failed to solve “the fundamental crises of the currency, energy supplies and migration as well as the confrontation with Islam,” according to the platform presented in Berlin on Thursday. “Criminal migrants” need to be deported, even if their homeland isn’t known, party co-leader Frauke Petry told reporters.
The party, known as AfD, surged last year at the height of Europe’s refugee crisis, but polls suggest it isn’t capitalizing on Donald Trump’s election as U.S. president and that Merkel’s Social Democrat challenger, Martin Schulz, is recapturing voters ahead of the Sept. 24 election. All national polls put the AfD within range of winning parliamentary seats this year after falling short in the last election in 2013.
The party’s draft election program, to be approved by AfD delegates in April, is based on a survey of about 6,400 party members. Two thirds said Germany should follow the example of the U.K. and hold a referendum on leaving the EU unless the bloc can be reduced to a “Europe of sovereign states.”
Support for the AfD declined one percentage point to 8 percent in the latest weekly Forsa poll, compared with 14 percent last May. Merkel’s Christian Democrat-led bloc held at 33 percent while the Social Democrats rose 1 point to 32 percent. The poll of 2,502 people published Wednesday has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.